Office of International Services (OIS)

F-1 Travel

To Travel to Another Country:

In order to travel to a country other than your country of citizenship or permanent residence, you may be required to secure a visa from the country you want to visit. You should contact the consulate or embassy of the country you intend to visit to determine what documents you will need.

To Re-Enter the United States you will need the following documents:

  • A valid passport (unless exempt from passport and visa requirements).
  • A valid F-1 Visa stamp in your passport (unless you are re-entering from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands after a trip of less than 30 days).
  • A valid I-20 Form signed for re-entry by the Designated School Official in the OIS–Belfer Room 1205.

If you are considering travel outside of the U.S., always contact the OIS to ensure that your papers are in order well in advance of your departure. 

If the F-1 Visa in your passport has expired, you will need to make an application at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy to obtain a new F-1 Visa before returning to the U.S. Complete the Request For I-20 Form. Have your Academic Advisor, Department Administrator and the Director of the Graduate Division sign the form and return to the OIS.

Please visit the U.S. Department of State-Embassies for specific procedures on making the Visa application. You will need to present:

  • Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, signed by you and the Designated School Official.
  • Evidence of financial ability to meet expenses.
  • Evidence of English ability sufficient for your course of study.
  • Evidence of intent to depart the U.S. after completion of studies.
  • Passport valid for at least six months.
  • Form DS-156 "Nonimmigrant Visa Application" and Form DS-158 "Work History for Nonimmigrant Applicant".
  • Photograph.
  • Application fee (currently $200.00).

In addition, you should be prepared to provide the following: Transcript & letter from the Graduate Office or Medical School indicating you are a full-time student in good standing. 

Some students may be subject to security checks because of their national origin, citizenship, or their field of study. Security Advisory Opinions can take anywhere from 2-3 months, but may require 6-8 months processing time in rare cases.

There is no way for us to predict how long it will take for your Visa to be issued at a U.S. consulate abroad. You should always consult with the ISSO prior to departing the U.S. to ensure that your documents are in order and discuss the travel first with your Einstein advisor to plan in the event that you may be delayed. Please read the latest notice from the U.S. Department of State on the current visa processing situation. 

Travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands

Students in F-1 status may travel to a contiguous territory (Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands*) without having to obtain a new visa at a U.S. consulate before re-entry to the U.S. You would need to apply for re-admission to the U.S. after an absence not exceeding 30 days.

This rule, called "automatic revalidation of visa" benefits those who have an expired F-1 Visa in their passport, or to students who have changed their non-immigrant status while in the U.S.

To be eligible for this benefit, you must:

  • Presently be in valid student status.
  • Have a valid Form I-94.
  • Have a current Form I-20, endorsed by the Designated School Official for travel.
  • Have a valid passport.

*The "adjacent islands" are: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Wind-ward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

Travel Information for Students on OPT

Students must have a valid SEVIS I-20 with OPT on page 3 and a travel signature dated within 6 months, a valid passport, a valid work authorization document, and if possible proof of employment. Students are advised not to travel if they do not have a valid student visa in their passports. OPT students should also not travel if they do not have employment.

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